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Question DetailsAsked on 7/15/2016

What is the best type of Living room Flooring for a ranch home on a slab in Jacksonville Florida ?

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"Best" is a pretty subjective thing - but here are some thoughts - and of course how long you intend or expect to stay in this house potentially makes a significant difference in how much you are prepared to sink into this project. Also, of course, whether current subfloor is bare concete or a plywood/OSB/particle board substrate that is well glued down makes a difference in approach too.

Certainly you could go to a few flooring centers and look at different products and talk to the sales people about the benefits and issues with different types of flooring to get a feel for what you like or what issues you are not prepared to deal with.

1) for "softness" or warm floor for barefoot traffic or kids playing on floor (used commonly for bedrooms and halls leading from bedroom to bathroom for warm feet, and playrooms/living rooms for kids or in homes where people commonly lie/sit on the floor playing games or sitting in front of fire or such, though of course throw pillows or divans or such can be used on hard surfaces) - carpet obviously - or if area with a lot of sand or blowing dust maybe washable throw rugs or area carpets that can be taken out and hosed out easily. More susceptible to staining than most products, show traffic pattern wear over the years, traps dirt easily so not as good in dirty areas or with active kids or pets or where pet accidents (now or as they age) might be occurring, and probably shortest life of any of the option. Very commonly used for living rooms.

2) for extreme resistance to abrasion and long life - from sand, active dogs, etc - hard surfaces like polished or stained or epoxy/polyurea painted concrete, tile, hard stone flooring and such - though does invoke grout cleaning pretty frequently, plus professional grout maintenance and resealing every 5 years or so typically for pieced flooring like tile/stone. Not commonly used for living rooms unless design is an "outdoors" or "garden" atchitecture.


3) for "rich" looks but not typically excellent wearing characteristics, real susceptible to scratching, and expensive to refinish - real plank wood. hardwood appearance can be pretty much duplicated with engineered wood and laminate, and the artificial/ veneer/ laminate products can commonly not readily be told apart from a true wood product with several coats of urethane or laquer on it. Commonly used in living rooms.

4) for natural look but cheaper with typically better wearing characteristics than true wood, and cheaper replacement cost than real wood - engineered wood with protective plastic layer or laminate, or pattern-printed vinyl flooring, but like wood still susceptible (though generally not as badly) to scratches - especially repetitive ones in same place from chairs or chopping blocks being moved around without adequate protective pads on the feet. Commonly used in living rooms.

5) for easy cleanup, good wearing charactearistics as long as you don't gouge into it moving chopping block / furniture / appliances, and good for areas where it might get water on it like mudroom, entry, kitchen, bath, laundry room - seamless (or at least as much as possible) sheet vinyl or linoleum, especially if totally waterproof as some vinyl products are. Not very often found in living rooms though.

6) bare unfinished wood - obviously scratches easily and requires resanding more often to remove staining, and very poor (even if sealed) for locations where food or drink spillage is expected. Not likely a good choice in house with active kids or dogs or where outside dirt will commonly be walked-in on it or other locations where "through traffic" goes through the room. Commonly used in rustic, chalet, cabin, or nautical design dens and living rooms. On a concrete slab would definitely need vapor barrier, and would have to be thick flooring and interlocking joints if used directly on concrete.

Obviously, if there is any substantial risk of flooding of the floor, consider its ability to withstand basically clean water flooding without damage (like polished/stained concrete, tile, stone), ability to take it back up to dry out if needed (some 100% vinyl interlocking plank flooring like Pergo and Armstrong makes for instance, and throw/area carpets), and difficulty and cost of tearing up and replacing if water-damaged (glued-down products generally waorst, nailed-down products next, edge-fastened sheet or interlocking flooring products and carpet easiest.

Look through some of the previous questions about basement and concrete slab flooring in the Home > Flooring and Home > Basement Waterproofing links in Browse Projects regarding moisture issues - because especially in a pretty damp, humid area like yours moisture coming through the concrete slab from the ground can be an issue, making hard-surface flooring or a deliberate vapor barrier under any plank or fiber flooring product a good idea.

Last consideration for your area - if you do not have air conditioning, higher risk of mildew/mold with organic materials (wood,, laminate, carpet) directly over concrete slab (causes warm humid air condensation at the concrete or vapor barrier due to temperature difference) so hard surfaces or mold/mildew resistant materials like pure vinyl or vinyl laminate might be a better choice.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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